Jan 3, 2011


When planning our trip to Ireland, I knew that Newgrange would be on our way to Northern Ireland after we left Dublin. So would Monasterboice. I had seen the Monasterboice Muirdach's Cross with its Biblical carvings, located in County Lough,  pictured in many books. I wrote about it on page 73 of Celtic Wisdom. I thought it would be easy to find. It was famous!

But this was our first day in Ireland and we were not yet accustomed to road signs and roundabouts and had little sleep on the overnight flight from the states. We drove in circles and finally decided to stop and ask directions--or maybe get a map. The towns are so small and so close together on the main road. When Tom asked, a clerk in the store said, "I don't know. Why don't you ask them in Monasterboice?"

Truly, this was our only rude encounter during our visit, but it was the first day! They were out of maps. If we had come during tourist season, we might have been able to follow a tour bus. As we started circling around again, I realized I was reading the road signs incorrectly and we finally found our way. We had to go down a wee country lane, but soon found the parking lot and jumped out of the rental car just as another car with two people in it did the same. They apparently weren't tourists, and they knew we were as soon as we spoke. The girl who had been driving advised us to stick our bags in our trunk (boot, as they call it) because there had been a lot of robberies in the area. Really? There didn't seem to be any people about and almost no traffic. We did and noticed a sign as we left the parking lot advising the same thing. So, that was a kind turn even if the fellow in the store had been rude.

The West Cross

The monastery ruins, the crosses, and even the grave stones, rewarded us with their beauty, size, and incredible age. If Newgrange had intrigued and amazed me just hours earlier, Monasterboice charmed me.

I wished I had visited this site before going. It explains what's there (with a map) much better than I can, so I'll share the link instead of rehashing it. One reason I didn't want to miss seeing this site is because it's one of the oldest monasteries in Ireland. The founder, St. Buite, lived early in the 6th century.

The North Cross


  1. This made me laugh! We, too, have driven round and round and round looking for things, FAMOUS things, and couldn't find them. Of course, sometimes it led to less-famous but also interesting things... :) And yes, I bought the guidebooks for every site we visited, but didn't have time to read them until I got home, when I was kicking myself for missing something. Totally hear ya! (Sadly, yes, some thieves see a rental car and assume it's a rich tourist; smash the window and go. Definitely put everything in the boot.)

  2. Yes, Jamie! The adventure is half the fun!

  3. Ah, I enjoyed this post Cindy; thanks for sharing. Sorry to know it was a rough start to your vacation - but it provides a good story to tell = ' )

    Also, I'll have to look up St. Buite, as I am completely unfamiliar with him.

    Happy New Year to you!

  4. Thanks, Amy. Didn't mean to complain. I was thrilled to be there! I'm unfamiliar with St. Buite too. I'll do the same!